It is no secret that secure reading and fluency skills are an essential part of daily life and that success in this area of learning significantly impacts upon a child’s future opportunities. Teaching these skills to pupils is complex and requires a number of adaptable approaches, depending on level and attainment.   


Herts for Learning (HfL) has spent the last seven years studying the research around reading fluency teaching strategies. From the outset of this research, and from time spent directly in the classroom, it was apparent that an increasing number of pupils were struggling to comprehend age-related texts in ways that would prepare them for the demands of the reading curriculum at secondary school.  Despite having adequate decoding skills, when listening to them read, it was clear that fluency was lacking.  This research has been translated into effective classroom practice and HfL now offers a range of CPD opportunities and teaching strategies for schools, depending on requirements, availability and budget.  


More recently HfL and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) have come together to publish two FREE resources to support teachers in developing their pupils’ reading fluency.  


  • Reading Fluency Glossary: tool for supporting pupils to develop fluency reading capabilities provides a succinct definition of the term ‘reading fluency’, alongside a brief outline of two core strategies proven to support pupils’ development: Guided Oral Reading and Repeated Reading. Its clarity and brevity mean that this is an ideal tool to share with all teachers within the school/setting to ensure there is an agreed understanding of the key terminology used when focusing on reading fluency.   


  • Reading Fluency Misconceptions: misconceptions about what reading fluency is and is not outlines eight common myths associated with reading fluency instruction. This tool will prove helpful for schools who feel they have implemented reading fluency practices but are struggling to see dramatic improvements for their pupils, especially their weakest readers. The document will support schools to reflect upon the strategies and approaches they are currently using and whether these are best-placed to yield the results they need for their pupils.  


The two resources define the key terminology within reading fluency, provide guidance around supporting reading fluency development and outline the key misconceptions when teaching it.  They are designed to support teachers in maximising the effectiveness of their reading provision.   


Commenting on reading fluency, Penny Slater, Education Development Lead at HfL said,


“Reading fluency remains high on the education agenda. For many children who have jumped through the first statutory imposed hoop of reading skill acquisition – the phonics screening check – yet stumbled when faced with subsequent hoops – the Key Stage 1/Key Stage 2 reading SATs – a lack of fluency is often the barrier. Having run reading fluency projects since 2017 across Key Stages 1, 2 and 3, we have directly supported 322 centres and over 2,000 pupils, and seen an average two years and three months progress in reading comprehension within an eight-week Key Stage 2 project*.”  


Commenting on the collaboration, Sarah Green, Literacy Content Specialist at Education Endowment Foundation said,


“Our national literacy campaign this year has had a specific focus on mobilising the evidence on developing reading fluency. As such, we wanted to reach out to other experts in this field, such as Professor Tim Rasinski and colleagues from Herts for Learning, because we knew their knowledge and feedback would be invaluable when producing resources for schools to use. We are pleased with the fluency tools created and thank HfL for their contributions and feedback.” 


The new EEF/HfL reading fluency tools can be viewed via the Herts for Learning website.


*based on 1,300 KS2 pupils as measured by the YARC assessment tool.